Three Palestinians killed in skirmish with Border Police

At least 19 injured in Monday clashes in Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem

Protests at Qalandiya in 2011. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Protests at Qalandiya in 2011. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

At least three Palestinians were reported killed and 19 injured in clashes with Israel’s Border Police on Monday in the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem.

According to Palestinian news outlets, the officers entered Qalandiya around 5 a.m. Monday morning. Medical sources in Ramallah, cited by WAFA news, reported that Rubin Zayed, 34, and Younis Jahjouh, 22, died in the subsequent clashes with soldiers.

A third man, Jihad Aslan, 27, died of injuries sustained in the clashes after being pronounced brain dead at a Ramallah hospital, according to Ma’an News.

Over a dozen more were injured, one seriously, by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation. There were no reports of soldiers injured in the skirmish.

A video uploaded to YouTube appeared to show Palestinians on rooftops in Qalandiya raining down rubble on Border Police vehicles.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned the incident. “Such a crime proves the need for an urgent and effective international protection for our people,” he said in a statement.

Border Police spokesman Shai Hakimi said officers were on a raid to apprehend a “terror suspect” when over 1,500 Palestinians poured into the streets and attacked the officers with firebombs and rocks.

According to Palestinian sources quoted by Ynet, the Israeli troops came to arrest a Palestinian prisoner released a month earlier.

Hakimi said officers used riot control munitions — a term that usually refers to rubber bullets and tear gas. He said he wasn’t aware of any use of live fire nor of any Palestinians killed.

The IDF said soldiers rushed to the scene after the Border Police officers came under attack. It said soldiers opened fire after they felt their lives were in “imminent danger.”

“Large violent crowds such as this which significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defense,” said military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Hatim Khatib, whose brother Youssef was arrested in the raid, told The Associated Press that undercover troops dressed in civilian clothes arrived at their home at 4:30 a.m. looking for the brother.

“After half an hour we started hearing shooting from the soldiers inside our house, and then people started throwing stones at them,” he said.

Youssef was arrested after he returned from morning prayers at 7.00 a.m., he said.

He said he didn’t know why his brother was arrested but said he had spent time in Israeli jail for throwing rocks and was released three years ago. The Israeli military would not elaborate as to why he was wanted.

The IDF said the incident was under investigation.

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